Coqui Francolin, beautiful bird and fierce warrior!


What a beautiful bird with its distinctive mustard-yellow head and striking feather patterns.
According to Roberts VII, the Coqui Francolin (Swempie), Peliperdix coqui is the smallest african francolin.

During a visit at Roodeplaat Nature Reserve near Pretoria, South Africa, a friend and I came across many Coquis that looked like 2 groups. There were many of them on both sides of the road calling non-stop. Normally these birds are very shy and disappear in the tall grass on the side of the road very quickly when you approach them.

We were less than 10 metre from them where 2 males with blood smeared faces and bills, challenging each other for several minutes until I got out of the car when they slowly moved into the grass. They kept on calling and we drove off to the other side of the reserve. Here again we found a group on both sides of the road calling.

I normally hear a Coqui or two calling at Roodeplaat while birding in the reserve and very seldom see them. This was a special experience and I managed to get a few photos. Unfortunately I did not video them.

It will be appreciated if someone can explain this behavior.
I know they are moving to the end of their peak breeding season but surely they would have sorted out their territorial issues by now.


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